The governor of Kogi State, Mr. Yahaya Bello has withdrawn the case of defamation he filed against a Bayelsa born blogger and owner of Naija TV Live, Mr. Saint Miepamo Onitsha after the later begged the governor for forgiveness.
It could be recalled that Mienpamo through his online platform allegedly accused governor Bello of spending a whopping sum of N7 billion on a makeshift COVID-19 isolation centre which was later blown off by wind sometime in 2020.
The said publication generated a lot of controversy which led to the arrest of the blogger by the Department of State Security (DSS) and his subsequent arraignment at the Federal High Court sitting in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital.
Speaking at the premises of the court shortly after the suit was withdrawn and struck out by Justice Abimbola Awogboro, Saint Miepamo said he decided to apologise and plead with governor Bello to withdraw the case on realizing that his publication lacked facts.
“First of all, I want to appreciate the Kogi state governor for playing a fatherly role. I appreciate him because he has decided to forgive me as a father and I take him as a father from today.
“On the professional angle, as journalists, we do confirm stories before we publish. I will still make sure that going forward, I will get to the root of all my stories before publication,” Mienpamo said.
He also used the medium to commend the Commissioner for Information and Communications in Kogi state, Mr. Kingsley Sanwo for taking the time to come from Kogi to Yenagoa to see to the amicable end of the case.
Also speaking, the Kogi state commissioner for information described governor Bello as media friendly and would not want anything that may destroy the existing cordial relationship between him and the media.
“Let me first of all thank the DSS for the diligent prosecution of this case. From the investigation and prosecution, the DSS showed to the world that they are one of the best agencies that we have in Nigeria.
“The governor has decided to forgive Saint Mienpamo for so many reasons. One of the reasons is that he apologized to the governor and he has learnt his lessons from this to always follow the ethics of the profession
“We are very sure that he is a young journalist that has been doing very well. So, we do believe that it’s an error on his part, and having apologized to the governor, the governor has decided to forgive him.
“Secondly, the governor is a friend of journalists and he is someone that is very friendly to media practitioners. So, he has decided to use this as an example of his cordial relationship with pen pushers.
“Lastly, Saint Mienpamo is a young man like the governor. They belong to the youth bracket. He is a friend of all youths across the country. So, it’s a way of saying, Saint Miepamo, you are my friend and despite the disagreement, I have decided to forgive you,” Sanwo added.
Lead defendant Counsel to Saint Mienpamo, Barr. Benjamin Ogbarah said his client was standing trial for cyber stocking over a publication he made against the governor of Kogi state.
He said the case was amicably withdrawn after Mienpamo and his family approached and pleaded with the Kogi state governor for out-of-court settlement.
He said the withdrawal of the case was brought pursuant to section 108, subsection 2 of the Administration of Criminal Justice
Act, 2015, adding that the withdrawal of the case means acquittal of Saint Miepamo.